Vacation Rental Glossary
Regularly updated list of commonly used short term rental terms.
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Our growing list of commonly used vacation rental terms to explain confusing acronyms or jargon you might encounter in your hosting journey.
A transient use is the temporary rental of a residential property, typically for less than a year. The most common types of transient use are vacation rentals and short-term rentals.
A refundable amount of money that a property owner collects from their guests in addition to the total rental amount at the time of booking. The deposit is to cover any guest damages to the property. The deposit is returned at the completion of a visit if the property in the same condition they found it. Also referred to as a damage or breakage deposit.
Most cities and/or states require hosts who rent out their vacation homes to charge and collect a tax on the income earned. Depending on the distribution channel these might need to be calculated and submitted directly by a host or handled by the platform directly.
Reserving a vacation rental property for a specific time period for a particular guest. Also known as a “booking”
A binding document between a property owner and guest outlines the specific arrangements made between the two parties.
Local restrictions applicable to short-term rentals which set legal requirements on whether properties can be offered for short-term rental. For example, the total amount of days they rent out each year, minimum rental periods, and licensing requirements. Requirements differ by city or state, search for yours in our short-term rental city directory.
An agreement between a property owner and an online travel agency that provides the same rate for a property on all the distribution channels including the individual property owner’s website.
Specified hours when guests are expected to keep noise to a minimum.
Property management agreement
A binding document between a property owner and property managers which outlines in writing the specific expectations made between the two parties. This can include the house rules, cleaning expectations and maintenance requirements.
Pool heating fee
An additional fee on top of the property rate charged to guests who wish to heat a pool or hot tub. This is usually to cover the costs associated with fuel or electricity.
A property that allows guests to bring pets during their stay. Owners may also require a pet deposit or fee.
An additional charge on top of the rental rate if a guest chooses to bring a pet during their stay. This is usually charged to cover additional cleaning or wear and tear to a property.
Per Person Sharing
The amount each person pays when sharing a room, therefore the rate increases, as the number of guests staying in the room increases.
A rate that has a policy that does not allow for changes or cancellation of a booking with a refund to the guest.
Merchant of record
The entity that is authorized, and held liable, by a financial institution to process a guest credit or debit card transaction.
A formal certificate from a local jurisdiction that is required to rent a property for short-term durations. Requirements differ by city or state, search for yours in our short-term rental city directory.
Reservation of a property on a listing platform that doesn’t require approval from the host or owner. Similar to booking a hotel room, the guest chooses their dates, submit payment information and book the property.
Guidelines created by the host of a property covering rules for guests to know during their stay. They usually include what a guest can and can’t do and any penalties or fees if the house rules are broken. Examples of house rules can be viewed in our resource section.
Homeowners Association (HOA)
An organization that creates and enforces rules and guidelines for a subdivision, community, or building. The HOA is usually made up of local property owners and is also often responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and financial management of common areas.
A form of insurance that covers losses and damages to a property and assets within. Homeowner’s insurance also provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property. A standard homeowner’s insurance policy usually does not cover damage from renters of a short-term rental.
Fee charged for additional guests beyond an initial amount.
Fair Housing Act
A federal law protecting the buyer or renter of a property from landlord discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
The legal removal of an occupant from a property.
An account controlled by an independent third party that holds payments between two or more parties during a transaction.
A documented right providing complete access to a certain property. For example, if you purchase property near the beach but not on the waterfront, your property might have deeded access through a path to get to the beach.
Damage waiver fee
A damage waiver fee is a prepaid, non-refundable fee included in the rental price covering accidental damages to the property during a guests stay.
The process where a guest’s departure from a property is recorded.
The process where a guest’s arrival is recorded for their stay.
A fee charged by third-party distributors to a hosts for listing their property.
Rules that describe what happens if a guest cancels their reservation. Policies normally include a certain date that guests must inform the host of their intention to cancel in order to recieve a refund.
An amount of money that a guest must pay if they cancel a reservation. The amount can change as a renter gets closer to the date of the reservation.
A refundable amount of money that a property owner collects from their guests in addition to the total rental amount at the time of booking. The deposit is to cover any guest damages to the property. The deposit is returned at the completion of a visit if the property in the same condition they found it. Also referred to as a damage or security deposit.
The terms and conditions for a particular booking. This can include payment schedules, cancellation rules, and any required deposits.
A fee that agencies or websites charge for booking through them. Depending on the platform booking fees could be charged to rental property owners or guests.
The number of nights that a property is available for bookings in a given year. This would exclude any days that an owner personally spends at the property.
Any portion of the total rental fee which a guest pays in advance of their stay.
General guidance that If the period of average rental is seven days or less, you have a vacation rental as defined by the tax code.
Glossary terms are provided by the community to provide a quick reference for short term rental owners.
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